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January 22 I Wednesday

Exodus 4-6

Matthew 14:22-36

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws.”    

—Ezekiel 36:26-27

 

This is a true story. There once was a man who was in prison in England for being a thief. A Christian man went to visit him regularly to share the gospel and over the course of time, this man was led into a personal relationship with Christ. When the man finished serving his sentence and left prison, one of the first things he wanted to do was to visit a church. He picked a church at random, went in, sat down and looked up. There, hung at the front of the church was the Ten Commandments, five on one side and five on the other.

  He thought to himself, “That is the last thing I want to see, I know what I am like, I know my history. The last thing I want to do is read the law, which only condemns me because I know what my failure has been in the past.” But as he began to read the law, he realized he was reading them very differently. When he saw, “You shall not steal,” which is a command, but as he read it was like a promise. Then it says, “You will not commit adultery” another command but it came through as a promise. And this was the case for the other commandments. 

Why did the man see it as a promise? Because the law was a command imposed externally but now with the Spirit in his heart, he will not steal because nobody living in the fullness of the Spirit steals. That is why the commandments of the Old Covenant become the promises of the New Covenant.

The Ten Commandments reveal the character of God. When God said, “You shall not steal,” it is not because stealing is not nice but because God is not a thief and we are made to be in His image. “You will not commit adultery” because God is totally faithful and “You will not covet” because God is never greedy.

God tells us,“I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws” (Ezekiel 36:27). Why will we follow God’s decrees? Because something has happened inside of us where we will have an appetite for that which is right and it will not be an imposition but a natural response. The source of our Christian living is the Holy Spirit’s presence in our hearts. Like the man who was a thief but found God, may we see the Ten Commandments not as commands that condemn our sins but as promises when we are living under the Spirit of God.

 

Prayer: Spirit of God, thank You that Your commandments are a promise because You live in me. May I more fully reveal Your character to the world around me. Praise You!


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